As a worship leader and musician there are a few books in scripture that are foundational for our formation, and just plain gripping. Biblical texts that give us hardy glimpses into how God directs our worship, what he expects in worship from us, and how it should look, or not. After you’ve spent a few years soaking up the Psalms (start here and here) and 1st Chronicles (mainly just here) it’s time to wade into the Book of Revelation. (With Exodus and Ezra close behind). Here is a bunch of resources to get you started. From dissertation level study (Seel) to the allusive poetics of Christina Rossetti, from the hip graphic arts of Sojourn Church to the CCM classic “Ancient of Day’s.” If you’ve always wanted to spend some more time studying Revelation but not been sure where to start, or you think Maranatha is just a music publishing company then take more than a few minutes to wade into the work of the saints before you.
Thomas Allen Seel – A Theology of Music for Worship Derived from the Book of Revelation. 1995 Scarecrow press
Description: Church musicians and worship leaders have been frustrated for two thousand years because the New Testament has so few specific guidelines regarding the use of music for worship. The purpose of this study is to show that the New Testament does have both practical and specific things to say regarding the use of music in the life of the contemporary Church.
This study analyzes the forms of music, performing groups, and performance practice found within the Book of Revelation. Each of these aspects is traced historically through the early pagan, Jewish, Greek, Roman, and early church periods. This historical perspective provides the groundwork from which points for a theology of music for worship are developed and supported and made relevant to the contemporary church musician and worship leader.
David Peterson – Engaging with God, a biblical theology of worship. 2002 IVP Academic.
One of the best overviews for a biblical theology of worship David spends an entire chapter looking at how the book of Revelation shapes our understanding of both heavenly and earthly worship.
Eugene Peterson – Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination. 1991 Harper
An Amazon Reviewer: Have you become immersed in interpretations of the varied and even gross symbolisms in the Book of Revelation? Have you missed the introductory statement that it is “the revelation of Jesus Christ”? He gave His revelation, His last words, through the listening ears and the seeing eyes of His devoted friend, St. John, theologian, poet and pastor. The author of Reversed Thunder has caught the sweep and practicalities of Revelation through his insights into Jesus’ last words, His ultimate words, on such subjects as the church, prayer, evil, politics, heaven. Jesus’ call for us in the here and now is to worship God and to this theme we can respond, “Amen.” This book invited repeated reading, always with an open Bible, time for meditation, prayerful worship. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Christina Rossetti - The Face of the Deep – a devotional commentary on the Apocalypse. 1892
The idea of this book is really intriguing. It is a commentary written from the perspective of a poet. It is interspersed with commentary, personal reflections, devotional writings, and poetry. A few poems in this work have made it out into the larger body of church hymnody. “None Other Lamb, None Other Name” (mp3) being the most well known.
Robert Coleman - “Songs of Heaven,” 1981; republished “Singing with the Angels” 1998.
A devotional Bible study on the praise and worship songs of the Book of Revelation.
Charles Wesley – Collection of hymn stanza’s working through Revelation. (PDF)
Jamie Barnes – Let The Seventh Angel Sound On High. A Sojourn Church musician. Song inspired by Revelation 11.
Sojourn Church in St. Louis recently published a “Revelation-themed devotional, with super-fly comic-book art.” You can download the devotional from their website HERE. There’s also links to music, sermons and other resources they’ve produced related to their series in book of Revelation.
Art Inspired by the book of Revelation: A tremendous collection of images related to the book of Revelation. Durer, Dore, etc. Much of this is pretty bad but there are some gems!
Hughes Oliphant Old has a collection of articles on “Great Texts of Worship” for Worship Leader Mag. Here is his article on Revelation 4-5.
ESV Study Notes for the Book of Revelation are fantastic as always!
If you’ve got anything else I should add to the list post a comment. Later in the week I’m also going to post a collection of hymn texts inspired by Revelation.